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True Women by Janice Woods Windle
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True Women

by Janice Woods Windle

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2181082,129 (3.95)17
Epic story of two Texas dynastic lines, the King and Woods families, their women, and the giants whose destinies touched their lives.

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There are no stronger females than these generations of two Texas pioneering families, they fight Indians, wolves, Santa Ana, and for women’s rights, Based on accounts of the author's family history. Don’t let the cover fool you, it’s not a romance.
  mcmlsbookbutler | Nov 14, 2016 |
A fun read full of adventure from the women's perspective in Central Texas of the 1830s. ( )
  FoxTribeMama | Oct 16, 2016 |
reading it for the 2nd time ( )
  KimSalyers | Oct 6, 2016 |
reading it for the 2nd time ( )
  KimSalyers | Oct 2, 2016 |
Signed by author 2002
  KathrynKMorrow | Sep 17, 2016 |
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Epigraph
Sir: We, the undersigned, members of the Committee on State Affairs, after examining the declaration presented by Mr. Mundine on female suffrage, respectfully present this minority report, and unhesitatingly state that we are opposed to female suffrage; not because we think them of less capacity than men, but, forsooth, we think that by the very law of their nature they are transcending above the active particpation in the government of the country and because their native modesty and inborn refinement of feeling causes every TRUE WOMAN to shrink from mingling in the busy noise of election days. They are conscious that they exercise, by keeping themselves in their appropriate spheres, and by exhibiting all those gentle qualities directly opposed to the rougher sex in their capacities as wives and mothers, an influence mightier far than that of the elective franchise. We are opposed to it, further, because we believe that the good sense of every TRUE WOMAN in the land teaches her that granting them the power to vote is a direct open insult to their sex by the implication that they are so unwomanly as to desire the privilege.

We therefore believe that such a declaration should not pass this body of gentlemen.
Dedication
To my husband, Wayne E. Windle, who always believed in the dream. ~~ To my mother, Virginia Woods, whose scholarship made it a reality. ~~ In memory of my father, Wilton G. Woods, whose love of history was the inspiration.
First words
Few places on earth could be as magical to a child as where the Guadalupe River bottoms cut deep around Idella's house behind Court Street in Seguin, Texas.
Quotations
Vivid stories of the women in my family had been passed down mother to daughter, grandmother to granddaughter, aunt to niece, and even father to daughter, for six generations: stories about the widows of the Alamo and how Euphemia nearly died in the Runaway Scrape and how her sister Sarah outsmarted the Comanches, stories about the women in my family who lived and loved and died in a river of time reaching back to the Alamo and Sam Houston. They were great epic tales of war and adventure, love and murder, violence and redemption. …

Who were the daughters of Euphemia Texas? There was so much I didn’t know about these women whose blood flowed in my veins, whose lives lay as prologue to my own. Were the tales embellished with the telling? Was Euphemia Texas really there when the Widows of Gonzales found refuge at Peach Creek and when Sam Houston’s rag-tag army routed Santa Anna at San Jacinto? Could she ride and shoot like a man? And how did she manage to survive a life constantly plagued by war and violence, by wild Comanches and dread Republicans? Did my great-grandmother Georgia Lawshe really risk her plantation running the Yankee cotton blockade and did she help her children kill the Yankee officer? Did Aunt Sweet really fire on the advancing Yankee column from the balcony of their home? Was another of my great-grandmothers, Bettie King , really left alone all night as a small girl to protect the bodies of her dead friends from a pack of hungry wolves? And did that wonderful cast of characters really pass through their lives and their homes: Thomas Jefferson, Sam Houston, Santa Anna, Juan Seguin, the Queen of Tuckabatchee, Robert E. Lee, Teddy Roosevelt, the Comanche chief Iron Jacket, General Henry McCullock, Pink Rosebud, Precious Honey Child, and Reverend Andrew Jackson Potter?

So I began my search for the daughters of Euphemia Texas. I revisited their homes and their graves. I pored through boxes of accumulated family documents and photographs brought out from under beds and down from attics. I interviewed surviving relatives, studied letters, diaries, maps, census records, death certificates, deeds, and land grants. I began to piece together an authentic version of the stories I’d heard as a child. In almost every detail, oral tradition and the historical record were identical.
If we are given life, doesn’t it seem that we should experience as much of it as we can? We should collect experiences in the same way some people collect butterflies. ... Life is a basket to be filled. “What if life is almost over and the basket is almost empty?" Then fill your basket.
Theoretically, Texas was under military rule. Yet it was more a rule of punishment than of law. Georgia often thought the South was being broken on the rack and was being dismembered bit by bit and forced to make restitution by repaying fragments of its soul.
All afternoon the five sisters picked over the past like raptors, ravenously consuming scraps of time and memory. They talked of great revivals and of dead children and of the comings and goings of the men they had loved. They recalled the humor, irony, and absurdity that had touched their lives, and they laughed and sighed and wiped their eyes. They talked of the house and wove tales around the events that transpired in each room. They talked eagerly, leaning forward, the words almost hurried as if each brought life into the house and into the corridors of their minds. … How amazing, Bettie thought, after all these years the passion is still there. The five old women had survived so much. Sarah alone had buried eight of her nine children. They had endured wars and death and cruelty and every dread missile the dark horseman of the Apocalypse could hurl. They more than endured. They loved and fought, knew anger and compassion, were filled with the full range of the emotions they had felt when they were young. There is something in us, she thought, a flame, that does not change through time, that is as alive when we are old as when we first opened or eyes to this world.
'Imagine that.’ Idella seemed to be watching the sunlight on the river. ‘We rode in that new car from Santa Anna to the war with Japan. We passed by whole armies and nations and wars. We rode that automobile hundreds of years and through hundreds of lives and we got back hardly before the sun was high. Imagine that. Everywhere is here. The past was just down the road.'
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